Writing Workshop: Persuasive Letter Writing

Happy Wednesday folks! More than halfway through our week - although it feels like it's the 9430th day of this week! 
Anyone with me?

I do have some exciting news! Tina from "Crofts Classroom" has started doing a blogger feature each week...and she asked me to be her first guest! 

Crofts' Classroom

To brighten my long day, I'm munching on popcorn, relaxing in pajamas, and linking up with Jivey for "Workshop Wednesday." Today's focus is Writing Workshop: Favorite Mini-lesson

I want to share with you one of my favorite things to teach...Persuasive Writing!

To introduce and reinforce the idea of persuasive writing, we go over this cute anchor chart:
persuasive writing
We also touch on dishonest persuasion and how prevalent that is, especially in the media. I've created a vocabulary flip book that you can download for FREE:

Now, to the fun part...
I combine my persuasive writing with my letter writing unit - killing two birds with one stone, if you will (idiom!). Here are two mentor texts I use when teaching persuasive letter writing:
1. I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff
Synopsis: Alex is DYING to have a pet iguana, so he decides to write his mom a letter to persuade her to let him. He promises that she won't have to feed it or clean its cage or even see it if she doesn't want to. Written as a series of letters back and forth between Alex and his mom. 
*Click on the YouTube icon to watch the book being read.*

2. Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School
by Mark Teague

This is one of my all-time favorite books! When Ike Larue is "imprisoned" at the Igor Brotweiler Canine Academy, he tries sending dramatic persuasive letters to his own, Mrs. LaRue. Finally, he runs away only to find himself back in Snort City--just in time to save Mrs. Larue's life.

The thing I love most about this book is the illustrations. Each page is split: one half is in color and depicts what is really happening and the other half is in black and white, showing Ike's imagination of how horribly he is being treated:
THEN it's time for the kiddos to show what they've learned. 
"Save the Turkeys"
I usually do this activity in November and then have the students write letters from to Americans families at Thanksgiving time. However, these are not ordinary letters..they are written from the perspective of a TURKEY and the students must PERSUADE the family not to eat them for Thanksgiving. 
It's such a fun activity and the students get really into it. They have to come up with arguments, reasons, and support. To help plan our letters, we used this great (free!) graphic organizer from "Charmed in Third Grade"

But this does not limit this lesson to Thanksgiving. 
Throughout the year, I give them persuasive writing prompts to keep honing their skills:
  • I have had them write letters to me trying to persuade me that they should not have homework for the night (that was the most turned-in assignment ever!) 
  • Tomorrow we are going to be writing persuasive letters to convince people to take care of the Earth (just in time for Earth Day!)
  • I also use these great task cards as prompts:

Have a successful writing mini-lesson you've used with your students? Hop on over to Ideas by Jivey and link up! 
Well I'm off to enjoy this beautiful Spring weather!
Happy Wednesday, blogging friends!

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